This is important.
I’ve a lot to say, but I hope you’ll give to me a few moments as I share with you an important piece of my heart. If you know me, you know I am sincere. I care about people. I do my best to be honest. I’m inquisitive, thoughtfully intelligent, open-minded, rational, and secure in my convictions and in my faith. If I didn’t believe in the potential significance of this, I would not be sharing it with you now.
Though you may laugh this off—and I dearly hope you do not—I feel compelled to share it with you; I’d be remiss if I ignored my prompting to do so.
I’m not a crazy person. I’m admittedly weird (in a fun way), but I’m not some kind of nutter fresh off the Drink the Kool-Aid 2017 Conspiracy Theory Tour. I do not take lightly what I’m sharing with you. I have, however, grown in my faith by pursuing facts, through thoughtful analysis, logical reasoning and extreme scrutiny in pursuit of answers and confirmations of my belief. I love connecting the dots, understanding how things work, and making amazing confirmations through research of history, linguistics, science, culture, and math. Therefore, I want to address and share with you something that I believe is very relevant and pertinent to the times in which we live.
I believe something significant in our world could (and honestly will) happen very soon—very soon. It’s undeniable that our planet is groaning with incredible unrest—socially, politically, naturally, relationally, morally… We’ve seen an uncanny series of record-shattering natural disasters with massive hurricanes and worldwide flooding, and a dramatic increase in extreme earthquake activity all over the world. We’ve swiftly become a world teetering on the realistic brink of nuclear war. The unstable leaders of Korea and Iran are showboating their nuclear capabilities and making threats toward the U.S., as we’ve made our own.
We’ve disrespected our environment in favor of convenience and profit. We toss away the least of those among us because they can’t afford outrageously priced medications or services or because it’s simply not convenient for us to care. We sweep the streets of the riffraff and hide them away in jail cells because of bad decisions, not providing hope or offering a better way. We bastardize what is supposed to be a working faith in God to manipulate it for our own gain, losing sight of the actual good news of the gospel and what it means to be called a “Christian nation.” It’s become a consumable rather than all-consuming.
We’ve elevated actors and sports figures and musicians to the point of idolatry, worshiping and adoring them because of a certain talent they happen to possess, many times mediocre talent at best. We let them speak for the masses and hang on their words because they’re on a famous television show or because they made so many touchdown passes in a season. We fill our homes with garbage reality television programs, getting lost in the misadventures of people who shouldn’t be famous in the first place. Scandalous news stories fill our headlines as we can’t wait to watch people fall from grace in some strange attempt to make ourselves feel better as we kick them while they’re down.
We fill stadiums to overflowing and shout and cheer with religious fervor at concerts and sporting events while so many of our churches struggle to fill seats and the enthusiasm there is likened to that of a funeral service (not all churches, but far too many). We’ve replaced the gospel with entertainment and feel-good Doctor Phil messages, trying to sell Jesus as a product—if we even happen to bring up his name in his own house, much less teach his word to his followers. As Christians, we’ve forgotten what it means to be in the world but not of the world; to shine our lights and spread love to all, praying for our enemies, loving those who hate us, seeking to do good, and turning the other cheek.
We’ve forgotten how to love our neighbor, instead arrogantly engaging in unnecessary violence, hateful speech, rioting and looting, and having complete contempt for those with differing opinions. We hide behind our keyboards and spew often incoherent, vile comments to those who, if we ever came face-to-face, we’d never even consider saying anything of the sort. Instead of defending people or trying to look for the good in people, we delight in tearing them down—publicly, or through salacious gossip.
We’re planting bombs on trains and running cars through busy streets, murdering and maiming innocent people for horribly pointless reasons. We don’t value lives or take responsibility for our actions. We’re sending our kids to schools where troubled teens believe they’ve no option but to open fire and murder their classmates and teachers, and ultimately themselves. We cry out that [insert whomever] lives matter (and they do), but we sure don’t act like it in the ways we treat and speak to one another. Rather than building relational bridges, we’re tearing down statues and tipping over cars, throwing rocks and burning buildings. We’re stealing shoes and television sets from stores while the hard-working owners are trusting all will be protected as they seek refuge from impending floods.
We worship status, and money, and attention, all the while drowning in our unhappiness and insecurity. Having more is never enough. We’ve allowed our children to become disrespectful and adopt a disgusting sense of entitlement. Discipline is a dirty word. We’ve forgotten what it means to work hard to earn things rather expect they be given to us. iDevices have become our babysitters and unchecked teachers. Instead of using things and loving people, we do just the opposite.
I’ve painted a very grim picture for you, I know. Friends, this world, as beautiful as it is in so many regards, is broken. It’s broken, and it’s getting worse. Though it can be suggested that the human condition has always been this way—and in many ways it has—I’d argue that we are reaching a boiling point and that all of this has accelerated at an alarming pace in just the last few decades.
There’s been a discussion in the news (mostly regarded as a complete joke) regarding the significance of today, September 23rd, as it pertains to foretold Biblical events and what that could mean for our world. I’ve done a lot of reading and research and seeking to better understand the possibilities of a shift in our world. I have come to the personal conclusion and belief that while the world itself will not end on September 23rd as some have claimed, we could very well see some amazing changes—and not for the better. There are too many undeniable parallels and connections and “coincidences” in biblical prophecies, and so many things are unfolding and intertwining in uncanny sync with one another, that I can’t help but believe we could very well be living in the last days spoken of in the book of Revelation (the final book of the Bible). It’s a mystery, but one that is becoming increasingly real and slowly unveiled.
I’m not a sky-is-falling date setter who is claiming that the global church of believers will be raptured out of this world on September 23rd (the Bible says no man knows the day nor the hour that Christ will return for his church), but we should not fool ourselves into thinking it won’t one day come. There is a literal day when it will happen. It could bee it tomorrow, or 10 days from tomorrow, a year from tomorrow, or even ten minutes from now. We don’t know. It’s that simple. But, if you’ve studied any of the similarities of what’s foretold in the book of Revelation to biblical history, and current global, cultural, and astronomical events, the possibility of Christ’s return seems more likely than ever before. My eternal destiny does not depend upon my belief of particular events. I do not to minimize its importance, but it’s an entirely different topic that can be (and has been) hotly debated. I don’t want that discussion to get in the way of the more important message of the gospel. While it’s timely and, in my opinion more urgent than ever, the timeline of these end time events are semantical in the grand scheme of our eternal destinies. But I address this as I do personally believe our world is about to change.
While all of the increasing problems of our world seem overwhelming, I have a personal sense of calm and peace. I have faith that my home is not this world. My body (as sexy and stunningly awesome as it is—don’t be jealous) is only a temporary tent. I have an eternal future beyond the grave that far exceeds anything imaginable in this life. It’s a future free from all of these foibles and fears, where moth and rust cannot destroy. I didn’t earn it. I don’t deserve it. I could never afford it, obtain it, or achieve it by my own hand. Yet, I’m promised this by God’s own words. He does not lie. His words never return to him void. When he speaks, it is purposeful, powerful, and permanent. He isn’t a myth or a creation of our own prideful imaginations. And we are not ourselves gods. From the glory and wonder of the heavens and the vastness of space and all it contains to the beautifully awe-inspiring intricacies found everywhere in creation (from the complexity of our brains right down to the amazingly elaborate workings of a single atom), he’s the architect of the universe and the creator of life itself. He loves his creation, and we broke it.
So, friends, I’m sharing with you the basis of my faith and why I believe that if ever there was a time to seek God’s face and favor, it is now. I share this with you with the most sincere love and compassionate concern, and I offer it to you to consider as you will. Some of you will think I’m crazy—I hope you don’t. Some of you could unfriend me—I hope you don’t. But some of you might read my words and take stock of your own situation—I truly hope you do. This is the hope of Jesus and what it means for any who will have ears to hear:
This is our story. We all are broken, sinful people. All of us. Not one of us can claim to have lived a perfect life, having not done anything wrong. God intended for us to live in perfect relationship with him, and in unity with one another. This world did not know nor was it corrupted by evil (or sin, which means “to miss the mark”). And it wasn’t intended to.
God, in his love, did not create us as robots or puppets under his control (because what kind of love is that if you don’t have a choice to freely and genuinely love in return). So, he gave us a free will. We can embrace and trust in him—his words, his love, his promises—or we can toss that away and pursue our own (lesser) thing. We can be prideful, declaring ourselves as gods of our own lives and choose to follow our own bliss. God gave us a choice, beginning with his original creations, Adam and Eve, but they blew it. In that, there is consequence for our sin and the reality that once we die, unless we’ve made amends with God, we’ll forever be separated from his presence (many call “hell”). This is no figurative hell, but a real place that we do not want to ever experience. We are created to be eternal beings, but we have a choice as to where our place in eternity is.
The gospel (meaning “good news”) about Jesus is ultimately very simple and can be distilled down to these four points:
1. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR PEACE AND LIFE.
God loves you and wants you to experience the peace and life He offers. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He has a plan for you.
2. SOMETHING IS BROKEN.
Being at peace with God is not automatic. By nature, we are all separated from Him. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God is holy, but we are human and don’t measure up to His perfect standard. We are sinful, and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
3. THERE IS A REMEDY.
God’s love bridges the gap of separation between you and Him. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave three days later, He paid the penalty for your sins. The Bible says, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
4. WE’RE GIVEN A GIFT.
You cross the bridge into God’s family when you accept Christ’s free gift of salvation. The Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
To receive Christ, a person only needs to do 4 things:
• Admit you’re a sinner.
• Ask forgiveness and be willing to turn away from your sins.
• Believe that Christ died for you on the cross.
• Receive Christ into your heart and life.
That’s it. There’s no quiz. There are no 10-step programs. There’s no reincarnation do-overs to try to attain a higher level. There’s no checklist of things you can do to win God’s favor. There are not enough good works in the world to ever be enough to garner God’s salvation. There’s no doing it on you own. You will not find this within. It runs counterintuitive to our ways of thinking…we work to get a paycheck to pay our debts. We do and do and do in order to get. But God turns that on its head and says, “I’ve paid your debts. Here’s your paycheck. Now, go do good things because of what I’ve done for you.” We can’t buy forgiveness or acceptance. Yet, we are given forgiveness and freedom and are seen as perfect because God views us through the lens of Jesus and what he did for us.
And even though you are still a broken, messy person who doesn’t have their act together—I’m certainly a picture-perfect example of this—because you trust that Jesus came to compensate for your shortcomings and that his gift is ALL you need, you do have favor with God. He has adopted you into his eternal family. Jesus told us that he has gone ahead to prepare a place for those who love him. And we’ve been told that no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. That fills me with so much hope.
It’s so simple. Probably one of my favorite versus in all of scripture is found in Romans 10:13: “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Whoever. That’s me. That’s you. That’s it. It’s as simple as coming to him with something as honest as this:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead and offer me eternal life only through your gift and by your name. I thank you for that. I trust and follow you. Guide my life and help me to do your will. In your name, amen.”
I love you all, so this is why I share what I feel is something worthy of your consideration. I respect who you are and think no less of you if you choose to think I’m crazy. Admittedly, it can sound crazy. But I believe that Jesus will do what he says when he tells us that he will return for his church. And I do believe him when he tells that times of great peril and hardship are coming the likes of which the world has never seen. And I do believe him when he says faith in him is the only key to eternal life in heaven after this ends. Finally, I believe that he could very well take his church out of harm’s way before these days come, so I encourage you to contemplate his gift and consider asking for it so that, in the event he does take us away from the impending events of these last days, you’ll not be left here to endure it.
With all of my heart,
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